Uncertainty and all its minions (comment on my painting: Imperial Hotel Mt. Victoria)

While painting on the street.. I am just painting.. putting paint down on the canvas.. like a recent cold morning on the highest part of the blue mountains.. Mount Victoria.. I was painting the Imperial hotel at 6am.. afterwards I looked at the painting and I could see all the things that are on my mind about how we live and who we might be.. and all the things I think about that give this world its energy and make it unbounded.. I think about the things that excite me.. ideas about resolution and its counterpart… incompleteness.. I think about the fact that we love things to get resolved but resolution is an impossibility a constantly yearned after place – eden… yearning is itself.. a creative force.. as things ride that ever diminishing asymptotic wave to completeness.. but we never get to that place.. death is the closest we can come..

I also see in my painting the struggle between order and chaos.. we like order… it is safe for us.. chaos suggests death.. life is the fine balancing act between order – indifferent death.. and chaos – wild death on the other side.. it is interesting that life exists on a narrow plane between the these two forms of death… this plays out in the painting where things are vacillating between holding onto a form / structure.. or giving into an unresolved sense of form.. but not holding on to that idea too tightly.. not giving in to the safety of death…

in the painting.. as in life the other great force is a synthetic force.. and this is pitted against an entropic destructive force… both are necessary for the painting… things are never created cleanly there is always destruction in the midst of creation you see this in cellular systems.. for structures to emerge in complex organisms cells need to die – usually in a controlled way to yield a functional form..

The phenomenon that governs these forces is Uncertainty.. no structures are certain… the edges of things don’t exist in any real way.. Cezanne seemed to discover that in his paintings.. when you get up close to one.. you get a sense that all the colours or possibilities are somehow contained in the finite space held by the form.. we are fooled into a sense of certainty by the way our brains interpret the data presented to them by our senses… in this case the eye… but in truth things are not as they seem and when I feel a painting has worked it is usually because it has given me some insight into the possibilities about how things really are or might be.. and I find that exhilarating..


quote from Thomas Moore

I am trying to get more reading done.. so I now sometimes pick a book off the shelf and  read from anywhere in the middle of the book.. I figure books are like rivers anyway.. to know the whole river is a big job.. find the source; where it meets the sea.. and all the bits in between.. but you can also jump in the middle somewhere.. and soon you will have a sense of the character of that particular river.. after all something is carried through.. but I stray.. this book.. Thomas Moore’s Care of the soul.. I read this bit: ‘Do we need to understand all mysteries? We are used to hearing about the great revelations of science: the discovery of atoms, particles and DNA – and so quite naturally we think that mysteries are there to be solved.  The alternative seems strange, but at the same time it has its own appeal: use our intelligence and skill to preserve the mysteries.’ I think that is one of the reasons I moved away from an academic life.. I felt I had lost that sense of wonder for the world.. that had so viscerally got me into science when I was 13 years old.. paging through and looking at the images of bygone prehistoric eras in David Attenborough’s Life on Earth.. it was the mystery that engaged me.. it is a tricky one.. we are curious animals.. and want to solve the mysteries.. but.. how do we do that that without losing our deep sense of mystery and wonder.. which for me operates no less than another sense… 



the kiss


just like the infinite is contained

within the smallest gaps


one and two

so to…….

the transition from one

moment to the next

A finite thing



and then I was thinking

about this

while walking

Reuben down the stairs

which felt like it took an


–       too long..

I was in a hurry to

get downstairs because

I wanted to write

down as quickly

as I could how..

every moment

the transition is a

negotiated thing..

forces gather at

interfaces….. /

/ transient


these forces negotiate

the transition

every transition

and just because we

can’t resolve the intra-time


as well as the



we can’t be easily

aware of this….

the scale

that we operate in


detect this

but probably

reflects it

© Copyright Sid Sledge Artist